Saudi King to make state visit to Maldives next month

Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is set to make a state visit to the Maldives early next month, according to Saudi media reports.

According to the Saudi Gazette, Maldives is is part of King Salman's five nation tour of Asia next month.

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques is set to visit Indonesia, Japan, China, Malaysia and the Maldives on the tour.

The high-profile visit shows the keenness of the Kingdom to expand its ties with East Asian nations in the changed global scenario, according to well-informed sources.

President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom meanwhile had last month revealed that the Saudi government was looking to implement a 'mega' project in Faafu Atoll which would be initiated soon.

Speaking after inaugurating the new harbour in Faafu Atoll Magoodhoo island, president Yameen said top officials of the present Saudi government are looking to establish an 'economic city' in Faafu Atoll that would be open to the entire world.

Highlighting that a project of such magnitude had been successfully implemented in only a few countries throughout the globe, president Yameen said Maldives with its many limitations would not be able to handle the project alone.

"This would create hundreds of jobs and open the door for several industries from various regions to come to our shores. That's why we have such high hopes for this Atoll. This would make Faafu Atoll the most well heeled Atoll in the Maldives, president explained.

"They [Saudis] have looked at the few townships for such economic industries in the world for this project."

According to the president, the Saudi government had already drawn up the charts and plans for the project which however had been delayed by the political instability in the Maldives.

"We are hoping to welcome the Saudi King in the near future," president said hinting at a state visit.
Government had earlier said King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud had accepted an invitation to visit the island nation.

"We are in the hope that this project could be kick-started even this year."

President Yameen since assuming power has looked to deepen ties with the Saudi Kingdom.

According to the government, Saudi Arabia is to invest USD 150 million (MVR 2.3 billion) to improve the economy and financial conditions of the Maldives.